Right now, I think I might just be in a Hemingway phase. I mean, I'm not daft in thinking that this is an original phase to be in, but I'm still so taken with his gorgeous house in Cuba, that my curiosity is now officially getting the better of me. I've seen how the man lived, now I can't get enough of knowing what the man wrote.
Annnywaay, I finished A Farewell to Arms this morning on the way to work, and while I agree it's a great piece of literature that I enjoyed very much, I perhaps might have to disagree with its position in the canon as the defining novel of the First World War. In my humble opinion, there are Canadian books that perhaps come closer to really bringing the experience of the war to life, like Timothy Findley's The Wars or Joseph Boyden's excellent Three Day Road, just to name two. But I'd have to say that the parts of the book that I found most effective were those scenes of Frederic Henry, or "Tenente" as the boys call him, in the war zones. The love story, while moving, especially in its tragic conclusions, didn't feel as authentic as the parts of the book when bombs are exploding and men are heading up to the "show."
As we get closer to Remembrance Day, I seem to get the urge to learn more and more about the First World War, and Americans in the war in particular. My great-grandfather, G.H. Copeland, came to Canada from Ohio to get into the show himself, and I often think of him running in the trenches with Faulkner or winding up meeting Hemingway on his Red Cross ambulance, although I know G.H. wasn't in Italy, but mainly in France. Maybe there's a book in there somewhere?
Up next in my Hemingway phase: The Old Man and the Sea.
Currently reading: Anne Enright's gut-wrenching Booker-winning The Gathering.
PHOTO IN CONTEXT: The novel on my desk beneath its 1001 Books entry.